Wednesday, 13 September 2017

In the Land of Smiles

"Do you know why the Thais smile so much?", asked my friend Sukit, many years ago, on one of my visits to Trang, the city in Southern Thailand where he, his wife and his son happened to live. "Because a smile is never out of place."

In Thailand, that is. For as I've learned from a Thai woman in her thirties, who had lived twelve years in Sydney, the Thai habit of smiling when having made a mistake (the idea behind it is to try to calm one's boss down) doesn't play well with Australians who are not used to reading the varieties of smiles that the average Thai have at hand and regularly feel like being laughed at.
At the train station in Chachoengsao

The other day, when I inquired at the hotel reception whether my friend Bill, as he had informed me, did leave his phone number, the receptionist asked: "You meet your friend already?". "Yes", I replied, wondering first what this had to do with his phone number but then it dawned on me – since I had already met him, the phone number now wasn't really of use anymore, I imagine her thinking. "Okay, I check", she said and started to examine the rubbish bin. She quite obviously had thrown it away. I started to smile, she smiled back and that was that. There would be other ways to get in touch with Bill.
Meeting point in Chachoengsao

On the wall of my room hangs the following "announce" as it is called:
You can deposit your valuables or money in our safe deposit box at the front desk as the management is not responsible for any loss.
The Hotel will not be held responsible for the guest's property in case of loss or damage as following.
The loss or damage occurs in the hotel.
If the property that is lost is money, gold, traveler checks, jewelry other valuable items the Hotel shall not take responsibility.
The Hotel shall not be liable for any loss or damage by the following cases:
1) The case is beyond the control of the Hotel
2) The existing condition of the article.
3) The loss or damage is made by the guest.

Pretty comprehensive, I'd say.

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